The Moonball Blog

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sixer Shout Out

Just don't want it to go unnoticed that the red-hot 76ers have gone 11-2 in March, including wins over Boston (in Boston), Detroit (in Detroit), San Antonio, Phoenix, and Denver. They have some tough games ahead (Phoenix and Detroit again and two vs. Cleveland), but a fifth or even fourth seed in the playoffs is within reach. [knock on wood] A young team, but lots of fun talent in Philly.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Madness

Even though the top seeds won 14 of the 16 games on Day One, there's been no shortage of Madness in the NCAAs so far. That Duke near-miss alone is worth the price of admission. And Day Two is shaping up to be another good one, so far...

My company moved into new offices a couple of months ago, and one of the new "perks" is TVs on the premises, fully hooked-up with cable. At first, it seemed weird to have TVs in an office. That is, until these last two days. It’s been awesome. I can walk into the break room under the pretense of refilling my coffee and then just sit and watch whatever game happens to be on. No need to take sick days in March anymore.

P.S. And just minutes ago I watched Western KY beat Drake at the buzzer in overtime. Good stuff.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Basketball Tourist - Hornets vs. Rockets

In the last 24 hours I drank enough beers and ate enough Po Boys here in New Orleans that I already had to check out of the Bourbon Street scene and check back in with the NBA. There is talk of CP3 the MVP, and the Rockets have been rollin' like a McGrady Train. I mean, beads are cool and everything...but, especially for a Wolves regular like me, why not check out a great matchup, where the winner ends up on top of the South-whatever division? So I walked over to the New Orleans Arena for a great out-of-town home game.

After the Rockets' streak was finally broken last night against the Celtics, it was a big question how they would come back. Houston, do we really have a problem? No. The Rockets opened with a lead of 20-8. Hornets were ice-cold...and the way the Mutombo-Scola tandem can board was a huge block-out batch of trouble for the hometown. No 2nd chance points. End of first quarter -- Rockets up 24-16.

I gotta say, folks here are so friendly, and I met a lot of people while I flew solo watching the game. We talked about the team and we talked about the players. I found out about Mo-Pete's disappointing season, but it's been more than made up for with the return of Peja. But mostly, the whole first half, the locals were saying, "Ain't nothin' fallin' tonight!" We saw miss after miss, and then the Rockets would rebound. Scola looked great, being in the right place at the right time for boards, and scoring every which way. And what a hottie!

Hornets uber-management has launched a new website called, which they pushed tonight. And the people loved to go "Wooooo" for Chris Paul. He made the big difference in the game, by hitting big shots in the first half when no one else on the Hornets could score. Plus he stole the ball so many times that I lost count, resetting the offense or breaking it for an easy basket. Those are huge swings, and it mean a lot to the Hornets, who were struggling in every other aspect of the game. By halftime, Hornets were back within 5, 44-39. Honestly, it didn't look that good--most of the 1st half, they trailed by 10.

Earlier this season, I was amazed that the Hornets could be leading the tough Western Conference, and still not be filling a lot of seats. It seemed unjust that the Seattle owners should be talking about moving the Sonics, when OKC loved the Hornets last year more than New Orleans. Why not just give them the Hornets? Charlotte don't want 'em. New Orleans don't want 'em...But this is the Big Easy's first NBA franchise since the Jazz, and they're still figuring it out. Plus, please, a little slack since their city got flooded and destroyed...right? But to my surprise, I saw all kinds of people here at this game, and a LOT of local support. In fact, it made me homesick for the playoff-era KG-Wolves to see all the little kids and regular folks decked out in jerseys and getting excited about hoops. I asked one of my new friends when New Orleans woke up, and he said the All-Star game had a huge impact. People weren't coming to games at first. But after the circus left town, people woke up to what a great team they have, and they started to show up. And tonight, people were excited.

My one criticism--not one MVP chant for Chris Paul...but with the block party, $1 tent beers, and 18,000 fan sellout on a Wednesday night, they got everything else right.

Second Half -- New Orleans pulled even by the end of the third...and then the 4th quarter was why the score looked so lopsided. You Portland alums won't believe it when I tell you Bonzi Wells turned back the clock and had 20 points in the 4th quarter. He scored on every possession like a man who had a voodoo trick, while Houston went colder than an above-ground grave. Nothin'. Nothin'. Nothin'.

Co-MVP goes to David West, returning from an ankle injury. DW did not look bad at all, with an all out effort 20-10 game. And what could be more apt? The West is the best, and now the Hornets are best in the West!

The only other thing I have to remark on -- have any of you ever been to a game where they offered a prayer before the national anthem? I've been to a lot of games, and no one ever prayed before a game. But here in New Orleans, we heard a Deacon ask the Lord for a good game over the loudspeakers, where no players were unnecessarily injured, unless it were to be God's will. In other words, don't fuck with us Houston, or the Lord will exact vengeance upon thee and smite thy ankles and ACLs with a host of pestilences not seen since the last Easter that appeared so early in the year. And if thou shalt try anything, we shall send in the Birdman, who has been in the league and left, to pay for some sins. But the stone is rolled away, and look out...he will spread his wings and fly unto thee. Ca-caw! Ca-caw!

Alas, the deacon's prayer was good. Houston heeded, and the Birdman remained at bay. But look out for the post-season, unclean world. The apocalypse is upon us. Can it be much longer before the Birdman flies again?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beat those Spurs down!

Perty near all of us have suffered many a significant loss to the Duncan lead Spurs.

So good when the table is turned. Great comeback by the Celts, sending the Spurs spinning amidst a serious losing streak.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mad Max

Block of the year? Check this out.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

rockets red glare

I know there's a lot of basketball still to be played, but is there any way Adelman doesn't get Coach of the Year? Pretty phenomenal.

Also, has there ever in NBA history been four 50-win teams in the same division? I'm guessing not. (Poor Memphis.) Dallas: fourth in the division and seventh in the conference ... with a .652 winning percentage?!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Riding the donkey

How much would you pay not to be around Don Nelson? In these days when prices for companionship are widely discussed, I am more interested in paying people to go away.

Along with tracing his roots back to riding donkeys in the Caribbean, Adonal Foyle reveals the price he was willing to put on getting out of Golden State.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Updated Graph

Much has happened since I last posted this graph. Life in the lower half of the standings hasn't changed much. Shooters may be showing some signs of leaving his friends at the bottom. JLX seemed determined to join them for a time, but managed to resist their wiles.

The four-way battle for first seems to have been reduced to a two-person race. Meanwhile, with the recent demise of Monkeyshoes and the 15 Foolish Rabbis, 3rd-6th, including the much coveted final two money spots, are hotly contested.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Nice piece in the NYT Magazine regarding how the lives of Kendrick Perkins, Brian Scalabrine and the other hold overs from last year's team have changed since KG came to town.

Conclusion - a better night's sleep.

Rockets still got fuel - Suns burning out?

So the Rockets beat the Nuggets to go 15 straight. Maybe those of us who saw Houston falling out of the playoffs were too quick to judge? They exposed the Nuggets as punks, and keep them on the outside looking in.

So I've been thinking that the top teams in the west will be hard to beat, except if a team on the bottom pulls a matchup with the struggling Suns. But is that true for the Rockets? Would big Shaq actually help the Suns beat a Yao-less Rockets if they were to match up? Dikembe vs. Shaq, Shaq wins an old school matchup that would last 10 minutes before they both had to sit down.

That scenario is looking less and less likely though, as the Suns have gone 2-4 since Shaq arrived...and they've already fallen out of the top 4. The chances of them regaining their berth as a top seed are slim to none. With the West so tight, doesn't it suddenly seem possible Phoenix could fall all the way out?